17    Jul 20126 comments

MyHeritage: Introducing Karen, our new German Country Manager

 Karen, MyHeritage's new German country manager

Karen, MyHeritage's new German country manager

We're delighted to welcome Karen Hägele to our German team. She replaces Silvia da Silva, who recently went on maternity leave. We wish Silvia much health and happiness and look forward to her return next year. Karen now shares her family story, to which many of us can relate.

Back to my roots: from Brazil to Germany

As a small child, I remember using certain words that my friends didn’t know. For example I called my grandmother Oma and my grandfather Opa. I could count from eins to zehn and my favorite nursery rhyme was Backe, backe Kuchen. At night, I wished my parents Gute Nacht, and at Christmas we ate Stollen (a kind of fruit cake), baked, of course, by my grandmother.

We were the only ones in our neighborhood to have a real Christmas tree with real candles instead of "blinking stuff," as my Granddaddy used to say.

All of that would have been quite normal had I not been born in Brazil.

Continue reading "MyHeritage: Introducing Karen, our new German Country Manager" »

16    Jul 20120 comments

Links We Like: What’s new!

Here's another edition of Links We Like, providing information on topics that our readers may find both interesting and useful.

Today we write about Research Buzz, Canada Archives, a cemetery-recorder catalyst, preserving an archive, events in Boston and Atlanta, and food heritage.

RESEARCH BUZZ

One of my favorite resource providers is Research Buzz. Every day, I get a neat email listing a handful of new resources.

Are you a museum crawler? You can now find your way around 22 US museums with Google Maps for Android. Looking for a specific exhibit or display? Plan your route from entrance to your target, see it on your phone or tablet. Since November 2011, the map collection had some 10,000 indoor maps, and they just added the additional 22 locations.

Some of the most famous: American Museum of Natural History, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Cincinnati Museum Center, Freer Gallery of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, nine National Museums (Air and Space, African art, American history, American Indian, Natural History, Portrait Gallery, Zoological Park), The Smithsonian and more.

Continue reading "Links We Like: What’s new!" »

13    Jul 20121 comment

Ancestors: What would you say to yours?

Who would you invite to a fictional celebrity dinner party?

I'd like to have a mix of guests from all walks of life, scientists, movie stars, great world leaders and others.

But what if you could spend time talking to your ancestors - or your descendants? What would you want to share with them? What would you want to learn from them?

In our family history research, we try to learn as much as possible about our ancestors, including how they lived, what they did, what their interests were and other information that helps us understand who they were as real people.

Even with all this data you've collected, what would you like to ask your ancestors, if you had that opportunity?

The video below is a play on this concept. Actor-filmmaker Jeremiah McDonald has a conversation with himself, based on a tape he made some 20 years ago.

So, if you had such a moment, what would you tell - or ask - your ancestors or descendants? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

13    Jul 20120 comments

Preservation: Getting the word out!

Researchers of family history are in the business of preservation. We hope to preserve not only our own personal documents, but we may also be involved in a larger community project that aims to make content more widely accessible to genealogists and family historians around the world.

One needs only to look around to see digital content everywhere. No one today uses camera film; we take digital photos and videos. We don’t write real-time letters and mail them, but communicate via social media. Who buys music records, except collectors? Instead, we download digital music. What we need to plan for is how to preserve this content for the future. We also need to think about storing it and managing access.

One resource that has importantly contributed to helping researchers understand the value of this quest is the digital preservation blog – The Signal - of the Library of Congress. Access the blog here and also subscribe.

Launched a year ago, it has published 288 posts by nine staff bloggers and more than two dozen guest writers, has had nearly 270,000 page views, and garnered more than 100,000 web mentions. It has been mentioned on museum and library websites and on blogs devoted to art, law, music, genealogy (including this blog), photography and technology.

The goal of The Signal is to communicate with researchers, librarians, archivists and other digital content gatherers, and to  raise awareness among everyone else with a personal or other reason to preserve content.

Continue reading "Preservation: Getting the word out!" »

11    Jul 20121 comment

Social Media: Battle of the sexes?

Ever wonder if there are differences in how women and men use social media networking?

Mashable recently posted a great story on where the online battle lines are drawn. It referenced a survey of some 144.6 million Americans. Instead of the old adage (and book title) - men are from Mars and women are from Venus – the survey indicated that "men are from Google+ and women from Pinterest."

Continue reading "Social Media: Battle of the sexes?" »

10    Jul 20122 comments

Poll: Can your family get from A to B without GPS?

I've got a pretty good sense of direction - as does my Mom. My Dad would be the first to admit that without Sat Nav (GPS), he'd be more than a little lost.

People talk about a genetic sense of direction running in a family. While some scientists suggest that genes do play a part in your ability to get from A to B, we thought we'd create our own survey to see if there was a trend.

We'd like to hear from you: Does the sense of direction run in your family?


9    Jul 20121 comment

What is in Michelle Obama’s past? The eclectic, multi-racial ancestry of the First Lady

Rachel L. Swarns

Rachel L. Swarns © 2011 Scott Robinson

This is a guest post from Rachel L. Swarns, a correspondent who has written for the New York Times since 1995. Rachel has published a book called: “American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama” in which she describes the many multicolored strands that make up the first lady’s family tree. In this guest post Rachel shares with us some of her discoveries about Michelle Obama’s lineage.

When Michelle Obama first moved into the White House in 2009, people knew her as a Harvard-educated lawyer, a mother of two and the nation’s first African-American first lady. But very little was known about her family origins. No one – not even Mrs. Obama -- had any idea how fascinating her family story was.

Continue reading "What is in Michelle Obama’s past? The eclectic, multi-racial ancestry of the First Lady" »

5    Jul 20120 comments

MyHeritage: Scheduled maintenance this weekend

This weekend (Friday, July 6 - Monday, July 9), MyHeritage will be performing some scheduled site maintenance and making a number of improvements.

The MyHeritage sites and Family Tree Builder will be working normally, but you may experience a few difficulties such as specific features running slowly, or temporarily not working.

We'll be working hard to complete the maintenance quickly and return to normal service as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience.

The MyHeritage team.

4    Jul 20120 comments

4th of July: Star-spangled family fun!

Today is Independence Day in the US. It is always marked with fun-filled activities, including parades, barbecues, picnics, and the all-important fireworks displays.

What’s your most memorable 4th of July family memory?

We may celebrate at a lake, at the beach, in a backyard or at a neighborhood park. It’s always a day for family and friends to gather. No matter what was going on in other parts of the world (see newspaper article from 1940 below), this holiday was celebrated to remind us of the freedoms we enjoyed at home.

My grandparents owned a large property with some 80 summer rental cottages, about two hours north of New York City. Many of the same families returned year after year, and we became a close group as we  grew up together.

My grandmother organized the two main summer events:  4th of July at the season's opening, and the Labor Day festivities in early September, signaling the end of our carefree summer, returning to the city and getting ready for school.

In the faux Tudor “big house,” Grandma's big country kitchen sported a black cast iron stove, the source of everything delicious! Every year, she produced buckets of the most delicious coleslaw, potato and macaroni salads.

Continue reading "4th of July: Star-spangled family fun!" »

3    Jul 20120 comments

MyHeritage: An African diplomat’s story

We were delighted to learn of Lesotho diplomat Paramente Phamotse’s heritage story.

Born and raised in a rural African village, Paramente, 45, attended a Christian mission school, attended secondary education and received an undergraduate degree (1989) in mathematics and education, and an MA.

Since then Paramente has worked as a teacher, school inspector and education administrator in Lesotho and South Africa. He studied international education in the UK in 2003, and was appointed a Lesotho diplomat – and posted to Dublin – in 2011.

My interest and research in family genealogy is one of my hobbies.

Paramente writes:

Continue reading "MyHeritage: An African diplomat’s story" »

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